|Duration:||8 days / 7 nights|
|Group Size:||Minimum 2 / Maximum 16 / Average 10|
|Accommodation:||Guesthouses throughout. Twinshare.|
|Single Supplement:||Single Room for the tour - US$245 extra (read more)|
|Transport:||Private transport throughout: mini-bus, microbus, or taxi depending on group size|
|Activities included:||Walking tour of Old Havana, Che Guevara Museum|
|Other Inclusions:||7 breakfasts, airport arrival transfer, local guide throughout|
|Suggested combinations:||Combine with the Eastern Cuba Short Stay, or a Beach stay package!|
- Day 1 - Arrival Day Havana
- Day 2,3 - Viñales
- Day 4 - Cienfuegos via Bay of Pigs
- Day 5,6 - Trinidad
- Day 7 - Havana via Santa Clara
- Day 8 - Departure Day
Please note: Itineraries for the tours in Cuba can and do change during the course of the year due to a variety of reasons. We are not always able to advise you in advance of these changes. We ask for your understanding and flexibility in these cases.
If your time is limited, and you are more interested in Cuba's culture and its people than beach resorts, then we highly recommend this 8 day tour of Cuba. In one short week, it's an optimised way to sample some of the most interesting areas of Cuba within a day's drive from Havana.
The tour takes your from the bustling and vibrant Havana, to the historic Santa Clara, and gives you the chance to experience the more traditional and rural sides of Cuba, with stays in Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Viñales. These places are common favourites for travellers who have come to Cuba seeking authentic cultural experiences. While Trinidad presents us with beautiful white sand beaches, colonial architecture, waterfalls, and a charming village atmosphere, Viñales offers stunning mountainous scenery, sprawling tobacco fields and friendly locals. A local Cuban tour guide accompanies the group throughout, and all accommodation is in guesthouses, which are small private businesses that are typically owned and run by local families.
This tour was awarded the Tour of the Year for Latin America for 2016 by tourradar.
Day 1 - Arrive Havana
Havana has to be one of the most exciting cities in the world. It's definitely intriguing and unique. Your included airport arrival transfer will take you to your guesthouse for the first night. If you arrive early today, you'll have time to do some exploring on your own before meeting the rest of your group, and your guide, tonight. Your guide will leave you a note at your guesthouse with details about the group meeting time and place. The base house for your tour group will either be in Old Havana, Central Havana, or Vedado. The neighbourhoods of Old Havana and Central Havana are some of the places where you will feel Cuba at it's most intense - narrow streets with old crumbling buildings and full of locals who are not placed there for the tourists but rather because this is their home. You will see them working, going to school, socialising, and going about their daily lives. Simply wandering the streets will give you a new experience and fill you with many questions about how the country functions. Vedado is another interesting part of town where there is a concentration of restaurants, bars, majestic mansions, and historic mafia built hotels.
The tour package itself does not include much time in Havana, so we recommend that you book an extra night or two in Havana, either before or after the tour. After the tour is probably preferable, as by then, you will have learnt a bit about how things work in Cuba and how to get around. Plus you'll have the chance to talk to your tour guide and get some recommendations of what to do and see in Havana. When you book the tour you can request these extra nights on your booking form.
Day 2,3 - Viñales
Before departing Havana, we have a guided walking tour of the historic centre of Havana (approx 2 hours).
From Havana to Viñales its about a 4 hour drive, and on the way we usually stop for lunch. Surrounded by picturesque limestone pincushion hills (“mogotes”), Viñales is a small and culturally rich village, with friendly and welcoming residents and wide variety of outdoor activities available. Exploring caves, hiking, biking, horseback riding or simply enjoying the views of the valley and sprawling tobacco fields below are all options. Viñales is one of the more agriculturally productive areas, so an abundance of local seasonal fruit and vegetables is always on offer such as enormous avocados and mangoes, pineapples, papaya, guava, and a several varieties of sweet potatoes. Its one of the cooler areas of Cuba, so its also a nice escape from the hotter parts of the country. The nightlife is very active in this village with the local residents more than willing participants in dancing to the local live music.
Day 4 - Bay of Pigs / Cienfuegos
We head back past Havana to the French founded city of Cienfuegos through the densely vegetated Peninsula de Zapata swamp-lands, and along the beautiful Bay of Pigs. This is where the landing of counter-revolutionary exile militia occured in 1961. There is a musuem here that recounts the events of this conflict which resulted in the first defeat of a U.S backed take-over in Latin America. We will also make stops at a beautiful swimming hole (cenote) which resembles a huge natural tropical fish tank, and if the conditions are favourable, at beach for snorkelling.
Cienfuegos appeal lies partly in the European flavour of its colonial hub, with a wide Parisian-style boulevard and elegant colonnades, and there is an ambience to inspire Cuba’s most celebrated Son singer to write the words “Cienfuegos is the city I like best”.
Day 5,6 - Trinidad
For many visitors to Cuba, Trinidad is their standout favourite destination. No other colonial city in Cuba is so well preserved, and the local residents are extremely friendly and festive. Trinidad is steeped in religiosity, none the least of which is Santeria, which is one of several Afro-Cuban religions.
The thing however that visitors most love about Trinidad is the nightlife. There are no less than 10 live music venues all within a short walking distance. Many of these have lovely outdoor settings, in courtyards, and within the walls of old colonial ruins.
We are near the lovely Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of Sugarmills) and Playa Ancón - where you can enjoy long stretches of unspoiled, white sand beaches. Scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming in waterfalls, and horse-riding are other optional activities.
Day 7 - Havana
On the way back to Havana we stop in at the town of Santa Clara, a key city in the Cuban Revolution. Upon entering Santa Clara, there is a huge statue of Ernesto Ché Guevara, to commemorate his death and that of the revolutionaries who died along with him in Bolivia. There is also a museum here dedicated to his amazing life
Its one final night of the tour in Havana, and your tour guide will have some suggestions for a farewell dinner and fun night out.
Day 8 - Depart Havana
Today you are free to depart at anytime.
Summary of Travel Times
- Havana to Viñales - 3 hours
- Viñales to Cienfuegos via Bay of Pigs - 8 hours
- Cienfuegos to Trinidad - 3 hours
- Trinidad to Havana via Santa Clara - 7 hours
Arrival and Departure Accommodation in Havana
The first and last nights of the tour in Cuba will be in Guesthouse Accommodation, centrally located in either Old Havana, Central Havana, or Vedado.
- We include an arrival transfer from the Havana airport (or from anywhere else in Havana if you are already in Cuba) to the joining Guesthouse Accommodation.
- On the booking form, you can request extra nights before or after the tour in the same guesthouse you will have for the tour. Click here to see prices.
Late Arrivals or Early Departures
Late Arrival - If you plan to arrive on Day 2 or after, we can arrange for you to catch up to the group. This may involve you paying transport costs to do so.
Early Departure - The group will arrive back in Havana, around midday on Day 7, so a departure from Cuba in the evening of Day 7 is possible. An earlier departure than this is also possible and may involve you paying transport costs for us to send you back to Havana by yourself.
We estimate you will need between US$450 and US$600 for local expenses during the tour, such food and optional activities (but not including the Local Payment). Click here to see details of expenses you will have while on the tour in Cuba.
Not Included in the Tour
- International Flights
- Visa and passport fees
- Insurance (Travel Medical Insurance is required to participate on the tour)
- All meals (except for 7 breakfasts)
- Optional activities/day-tours/excursions
- Airport departure transfer